Mugabe’s tortured Turkey walk

via Video: Mugabe’s tortured Turkey walk – New Zimbabwe 16/11/2015

CRITICS fed up with his rule and Zanu PF lieutenants impatient to take over, have lately been giving President Robert Mugabe’s public appearances forensic consideration.

He is 91 and they are all keen for signs that age is weakening him; they hope this would force the veteran leader out of office – finally.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, rejects retirement talk, believing Zimbabweans want him to carry on “for as long as I am still sane and fully bright in my mind”.

He maintains a punishing global travel schedule and, at home, appears in full charge of party and government to the annoyance of opposition rivals and ambitious Zanu PF officials.

But the foreign travel has given those looking for signs that the end is nigh some encouragement.

Over the weekend, Mugabe was in Turkey for the G-20 meeting of industrialised economies; a forum Zimbabwe, with its economy flailing after a decade-long crisis, has no hope of belonging to any time soon.

As current chair of the African Union, the veteran strongman was invited by Turkey president and host, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

But as Erdogan waited while Mugabe walked ever so gingerly the short distance from his Mercedes limousine to the entrance of the conference venue, the Turkish leader probably wondered whether he should not have let the Zimbabwean stay at home.

Footage of his arrival shows Mugabe appearing to walk with some difficulty and nearly stumbling as he greets his host. He has admitted in previous interviews to some trouble with his legs with images showing his ankles significantly swollen.

To be fair with him, Mugabe was not the only leader to labour the distance. The king of Saudi Arabia, aged 79, made a whole ceremony of the short walk.

Quipped a commentator on YouTube: “G20? G20? It looks more like a G… riatrics now!”

Again, while attending the UN General Assembly in September, Mugabe walked rather delicately the two or so metres from his chair to the podium where he addressed delegates.

In addition, a visit to Delhi for the India-Africa forum last month would also have concerned aides while encouraging rivals.

Mugabe nearly fell as he walked to greet the Indian premier who swiftly intervened to support his elderly guest.

The Zanu PF leader’s spokesman, George Charamba, played down the mishap, insisting Mugabe is in fine health.

“It is a very minor incident in a big heroic act and only fault finders will spend a second on it,” said Charamba.

“President Mugabe is well and has accomplished his mission. He is due in the country at the weekend.”

Still, these incidents, along with another stumble at the Harare airport in February – images and memes of which went viral – have led to opposition calls for Mugabe to step down.

The opposition parties claim that he no longer has the energy to lead the country out of its economic crisis.

Although Zanu PF denies this, the ruling party is also torn over what to do with Mugabe and the rows have seen the ouster of former vice president, Joice Mujuru, and several senior cabinet members.

Succession claimants continue to squabble while those against the two main rival factions are pushing for Mugabe to run for another five-year term in 2018 when he would be 94.

Meanwhile, the opposition, unable to unseat him through successive elections, is also wringing its fingers, seeing some hope in the “near falls”.

For his part, Mugabe has refused to name or encourage any of the succession claimants.

“I will be available to lead you. I think I still have the willpower and have a good memory,” he told party activists at Zanu PF’s congress last December.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 6
  • comment-avatar

    Like him or hate him, allmost all people born in the 20’s are dead, sitting in wheel chairs or vegetating on life support systems in hospitals.

  • comment-avatar
    S Mawodzwa 7 years ago

    Grace is our problem

  • comment-avatar
    joeje 7 years ago

    Retire Mr President retire,Even we who used to love you so much as our father we no longer appreciate your service because we want you to rest. Never mind those who claim to be with you they are only taking advantage of your age.If they truely care about you, they will say, chizororai Gushungo

  • comment-avatar
    Malcolm 7 years ago

    “… I think I still have the willpower and have a good memory.” Note the contradiction in terms indicating his confusion.

  • comment-avatar
    kachipapa 7 years ago

    Cold Turkey I think!!